Paris (AFP) – Arsenal sharpshooter Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang took the African honours in Europe at the weekend by scoring twice to become the English Premier League leading scorer.
A brace from the Gabonese helped see off Burnley 3-1 at the Emirates and lifted his season tally to 12 — one more than Liverpool and Egypt star Mohamed Salah and Harry Kane.
Ghanaian Jeffrey Schlupp struck the goal that set Crystal Palace on the way to a stunning 3-2 victory at defending champions Manchester City.
MOHAMED SALAH (Liverpool)
Liverpool’s Egyptian king continued his return to form by nonchalantly stabbing home the Premier League leaders’ opener in a 2-0 win at Wolves that sent them four points clear at the top. Salah also set up Liverpool’s second goal at Molineux as his cross was converted by Virgil van Dijk.
PIERRE-EMERICK AUBAMEYANG (Arsenal)
Despite scoring, Salah dropped to second in the race for the golden boot alongside Kane on 11 goals for the season as Aubameyang’s double in a 3-1 win over Burnley moved the striker into the lead with 12. Aubameyang struck early in each half, his second strike, in particular, a fine finish that flew high past Joe Hart, as Arsenal moved level on points with Chelsea in fourth.
JEFFREY SCHLUPP (Crystal Palace)
Winger Schlupp played a big part in the surprise of the weekend as Palace stunned Manchester City 3-2 at the Etihad. City dominated the early stages and led 1-0 until Schlupp stormed past Kyle Walker and arrowed a low left-footed shot into the far corner to put Palace on course for a famous win.
MUBARAK WAKASO (Alaves)
The Ghanaian international midfielder helped Alaves secure a crucial second consecutive clean sheet as the season’s surprise package claimed a 1-0 win at Real Sociedad to move fifth in La Liga, just one point behind Real Madrid.
KALIDOU KOULIBALY (Napoli)
The highly-rated Senegal centre-back helped Napoli to an eighth Serie A clean sheet of the season as Carlo Ancelotti’s men edged out SPAL 1-0 to remain only eight points adrift of leaders Juventus.
HAMED JUNIOR TRAORE (Empoli)
Ivorian teenager Traore set up Francesco Caputo to score against Sampdoria, with the goal confirmed by VAR after first being disallowed for offside. Traore, 18, then missed a chance to score his first top-flight goal for the promoted Tuscany side when his daisy-cutter was fingertipped away from goal. Empoli finished 4-2 losers.
Lazio’s Angolan defender elbowed Cagliari’s Joao Pedro in the face resulting in a yellow card for himself and a penalty which the Brazilian converted to allow the Sardinians pull a goal back in Rome. Lazio, nevertheless, won 3-1 to move fourth and into the Champions League places.
SALIF SANE (Schalke 04)
The Senegal centre-back claimed his first goal for Schalke in a 3-1 win at Stuttgart in fortuitous circumstances as his header flew in off the shoulder of Germany striker Mario Gomez. It was Sane’s first goal for the Royal Blues since joining in June and helped his team to their first Bundesliga win since early November.
AMADOU HAIDARA (RB Leipzig)
The 20-year-old Mali international is tipped to be a future Bundesliga star after the central midfielder signed a four-year deal to join RB Leipzig on Saturday and inherited the No 8 shirt vacated when Naby Keita joined Liverpool at the end of last season.
“There aren’t too many players of his age who have so much potential and he has all the capabilities to follow in Naby Keita’s footsteps,” said Leipzig coach Ralf Rangnick after signing Haidara, currently sidelined with a knee injury, from sister club Red Bull Salzburg.
NICOLAS PEPE (Lille)
A run of four straight games with a goal was ended in a 2-1 loss to Toulouse. Meanwhile, amid mounting interest from some of Europe’s leading clubs, sporting director Luis Campos slapped an 80-million-euro ($91 million) price tag on the Ivorian. However, club president Gerard Lopez added that Pepe has said on several occasions he wants to see out the season at Lille.
MAX-ALAIN GRADEL (Toulouse)
The Ivory Coast winger scored a pair of second-half penalties as Toulouse inflicted a first home defeat of the season on Lille. Gradel equalised just after the interval and then hit the winner on 64 minutes in a 2-1 victory after he was fouled in the area by Yves Dabila. He has accounted for eight of Toulouse’s 17 goals this season.
WAHBI KHAZRI (Saint-Etienne)
The Tunisian returned from suspension to bag his team-leading ninth goal this term in a 3-0 defeat of Dijon. His thumping first-time strike on 64 minutes saw Khazri match his personal best haul from the 2014/15 season with Bordeaux. His outstanding form also saw him collect the Ligue 1 player of the month award for November.
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